Although a lot of artificial intelligence (AI) research has moved away from robotics and into creating algorithms for business intelligence, finance, the Web, and other uses, robotics research has begun to make a comeback. Today, robotics researchers have faster computers, more reliable machinery, and dozens of algorithms that are routinely used in robotic tasks, says Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Leslie Kaelbling.
For example, Brown University's Sarah Osentoski has developed a robot equipped with a computer and camera that enables users to watch their cats via the Web. The Brown University Robotics Lab plans to create a crowdsourcing-like environment to test robotics algorithms over the Web. "Robotics is at a point right now where it is still very preliminary," Osentoski says.
Meanwhile, Georgia Institute of Technology's Socially Intelligent Machine Lab, led by professor Andrea Thomaz, has demonstrated a robot called Simon, which has a likeable face and eyes that will turn to look at a user. Thomaz says the lab focuses on developing robots that can interact with humans and learn from them.
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